Encyclopedia of Molecular Mechanisms of Disease

2009 Edition
| Editors: Florian Lang

Pathological Gambling

  • Undine E. Lang
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-29676-8_3237


Impulse control disorders; Addiction

Definition and Characteristics

Pathological gambling is classified in the DSM-IV as a disorder of impulse control with the essential feature being recurrent and maladaptive gambling behavior. Pathological gambling is a male dominated chronic progressive disease characterized by the overwhelming wish to gamble, with harmful consequences, thus sharing typical features with other impulse control disorders like trichotillomania, kleptomania or pyromania [1].


With rates of about 0.2–3.4%, pathological gambling is a prevalent and highly disabling impulse control disorder, which also represents a form of non-pharmacological addiction. Gambling is strongly connected with antisocial personality disorder and substance abuse disorder but associations exist with depression, cyclothymia, bipolar disorder, alcohol, tobacco and attention deficit hyperactivity and with obsessive-compulsive, antisocial, narcissistic and borderline personality...

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Undine E. Lang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and PsychotherapyCharité University Medicine BerlinBerlinGermany